By Tim Ryan

Elevating Event Discovery Through Innovation and Entrepreneurship

In a recent announcement that amplifies Virginia’s burgeoning innovation landscape, the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) has awarded OccasionGenius, a Richmond-based technology company, a Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) grant for $75,000. This is a remarkable milestone, not just for OccasionGenius but also for the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem of Virginia, including Hampton Roads.

From Humble Beginnings to Pioneering Success

It’s worth noting that OccasionGenius is no stranger to accolades and support from the entrepreneurial community. The company was a previous winner of Start Peninsula, Hampton Roads’ longest-running pitch competition and business validation event. The journey from being a Start Peninsula winner to receiving a significant CCF grant showcases the robust infrastructure that Virginia and Hampton Roads, in particular, offer to startups.

Bridging the Gap Between Events and People

OccasionGenius aims to “connect individuals to events they care about before they happen using our Personalized Interest Genome™.” The company curates, enhances, and updates leisure events across cities in the U.S. and around the globe, delivering this valuable information via API to its enterprise clients, such as hotel chains and airlines. Post-pandemic, the demand for such targeted, real-time information has soared, and the CCF grant will enable OccasionGenius to scale its platform to manage up to 15 million upcoming events.

A Catalyst for Growth

“We are thrilled to have been selected for a CCF award,” said Nate Marcus, CEO and co-founder of OccasionGenius. The grant will further bolster OccasionGenius’ role as a global leader in event discovery technology and help meet the increasing demand for its groundbreaking service.

The Role of VIPC’s CCF Grant

The Commonwealth Commercialization Fund plays a crucial role in nurturing early-stage startups. Jeanette Townsend, VIPC’s Director for Private Sector Grants, stated, “Our goal is to help Virginia companies grow and lead the nation in innovation, opportunity, and job creation.”

Innovate Hampton Roads: A Springboard for Local Talent

For those interested in learning more about Nate Marcus and his journey, you can watch episode 74 of Innovate Hampton Roads’ podcast, the Fervent Four Show, available here. The podcast offers invaluable insights into the innovative landscape of Hampton Roads and serves as an essential resource for local entrepreneurs.

Looking Forward

As OccasionGenius continues to scale and redefine the way we discover events, it serves as a shining example of what innovation, support, and entrepreneurial spirit can achieve. The company’s journey represents the best of what Hampton Roads and Virginia have to offer, a testament to the region’s vibrant startup culture and a beacon for future entrepreneurs.

For more information on funding opportunities and eligibility requirements with VIPC’s CCF program, visit

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